Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Actions speak louder than words


Regarding the decision to begin the Torah with a description of the act of creating, instead of the Name of Gd:

"R' Yudin cited Achilles: To One such as this it is worthy to call 'Gd'! Normally, a flesh and blood king has himself praised in the land when he has not yet built baths for her, when he has not yet built privies. First he mentions his name, and then his praiseworthy achievements. The One of the world, though, acted and then was praised.

"Shimon ben Azzai said, based on "And Your humility increases me (Samuel II 22)": Flesh and blood mentions his own name and then his praiseworthy achievements, So-and-so Augustus, So-and-so Protata, but Gd is not thus. Once He created the needs of His world, then He mentioned His Name – Bereishit bara [In the beginning He created] and then Elokim."

(Midrash, Bereishit Rabbah 1:12)

המצפה לישועה,


  1. I must confess I first assumed you were introducing a devar Torah you heard from the rabbi (since 1969) of Shomrei Torah of Fair Lawn, NJ -- Rabbi Binyam Yudin. Also heard every Friday on "JM in the AM", WFMU radio.

    I don't think that when the EY community Grecized "Yehudah" by putting an "n" at the end they also changed the vowel. "Shelomo" to "Solomon" also involved simplifying the first syllable and closing with an "n", but the cholam didn't collapse into a sheva.

    IOW, I think it's "R Yudan", not "Yudin".

    As for simplifying the first syllable, that appears to be the norm in the Y-mi. R' Avin becomes R' Bun. Half the time R' Elazar is R' Lazar. Really confusing -- R' Ila becomes R' Lo. Try to learn a gemara where you have
    to figure out if it's "Amar Rabbi Lo: ..." or "Amar Rebbi: Lo..."

    It hints at (although doesn't prove) a tendency toward milra in EY, and mil'el in Bavel. (The latter would explain how "Rabbi" became "Rav", or as Bavliim would say it, "Rabh".)

    Side-note: The email address I am getting these posts from does not accept email from either my account (which is on DreamHost) nor my account. Thought you might need to know.

  2. Hi R' Micha,

    יודן - I hear the possibility of the vowel being קמץ. As far as the first syllable, yes - I actually used this source in a shiur the other night, and explained the issue of first syllables in Yerushalmi. I love it.

    Re: Emails - Thanks; interesting.